Trapped Souls

I don’t like birds. They flaunt their freedom at the children. “Look! I can fly away!” they seem to be telling them. And the students, stuck at their desks, peering over their pencils, snarl with jealousy and hatred. I also feel jealous because I cannot fly and the birds remind me of that fact. I watch through my open door as they strut across the courtyard with their chests out like little administrators. Sometimes I throw them chocolate or chunks of salt because I hate them and, I believe, removing the distraction of birds would raise our test scores. Yesterday one of the birds I had poisoned hopped into our classroom and could not find its way out. Of course all the girls wanted to save it and many of the boys wanted to smash it with the broom. They chased the bird around the classroom for twenty-five minutes. Owen, who plays baseball for Junior Varsity and brings his bat to class, shattered my front window with one bad swing. I thought the bird would fly out then, but Coby trapped it inside a trash bin, which he turned upside down on the floor. We all listened to the bird thump against the sides for a while. Then I noticed the kids looking at me and I thought that maybe they saw themselves inside the bin, metaphorically speaking: trapped souls inside an unfeeling bureaucratic system. And I had the power to release them!…metaphorically. So I dragged the bin outside and ripped it away with a flourish. “Fly, little bird, Fly!” I yelled. But the lip of the bin had caught a wing and the bird went tumbling across the pavement and never moved again. So we had killed our distraction, I thought. But wrong. Everybody just stood around and stared at the dead bird. Finally Emily and Josh scooped it up with a magazine and buried it in the garden.
Embrace the Ick


2 thoughts on “Trapped Souls

  1. Larry, correct me if I’m wrong. The piece is actually hinting at the sorry state of our kids who are trapped in the system- school, after school classes etc and have no time to live and enjoy themselves. Kids burdened with expectation.


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